No time like the present to get started

Published on: 16:27PM Jan 07, 2019

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Brazil and China.  Those are really the only two talking points for the soy/grain markets this morning, particularly seeing the government offices are on an extended and unplanned hiatus.  In case you had not heard, the scheduled January 11thfinal production and supply/demand reports have been postponed indefinitely.  Concerning the first, rains have remained sparse in Brazil, and we are beginning to hear more and more reductions in crop estimates. While I would not classify it as a race to the bottom just yet, I have now seen projections as low as 113 MMT. As far as China, or at least trade negotiation with China, those are currently underway and are set to extend into tomorrow. While no one that I am familiar with knows what the outcome may be, the tone from both sides leading up to the meetings was encouraging.  Combined, these two factors have helped extend the bean market, and by association corn, into higher highs for the swing, but just how much more we can squeeze from the news is questionable.

Certainly, there is no time like the present to begin expanding trade with China, but as we have discussed previously, we are beginning from behind the eight-ball. The total volume of grains and oilseeds that have moved through the Gulf of Mexico is down around 9% for the marketing year compared with 2017, but that only tells part of the story for soybeans, which are down around 27%. The Financial Times published a revealing chart over the weekend which shows that while we have boosted bean exports sales to the EU, Mexico, and Argentina, the gains pale in comparison to what we have lost in Chinese business. There is no question that coming away from the trade negotiations this week with a friendlier relationship will be a positive and needed step, but with slackened demand already in China due to the AFS issues, the notion that we could make up for lost business this year would seem misplaced. Realistically, it would seem unlikely that as a percentage of the total volume that China imports that we will ever regain the same position in the future.  


Regardless, we do have the bean market reaching towards key overhead resistance between 9.30 and 9.40 in March futures that has stopped this market repeatedly since late July of last year.  Macros should be supportive this morning as metals and energies are higher and the Dollar is lower, but as I commented last week, the current strength could be setting up a buy the rumor, sell the fact type scenario.